Kelsey McNeely, Chemistry
Kelsey’s research focused on increasing hydrogen production by cyanobacteria via genetic engineering. Cyanobacteria are photoautotrophs that use sunlight and water to fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This method of biomass accumulation alone makes cyanobacteria exciting candidates for climate change research, but moreover they can utilize their carbon stores for hydrogen production under certain conditions. By eliminating competing pathways, either via metabolic control or genetic control, the hydrogen produced can be dramatically increased. It is our goal to construct a modified strain of cyanobacteria that could produce hydrogen at economically viable levels.